In an effort to support local dining establishments during the pandemic, our writers have been enjoying a variety of takeout meals from
some of their favorite restaurants. Contribute to this ongoing series
by sending your own delicious experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From rounds of Greyhounds to late-night grilled cheeses at the bar, C&O has been a staple in my Charlottesville dining repertoire for years. So when I walked up to the restaurant’s Dutch door labeled “takeout” to pick up my order, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort. Through the open window, I could see the downstairs bar where, despite my longing, I wouldn’t be taking a seat—instead I’d be taking my cocktail home with me.
To accompany my Retreat Farm lamb entrée and side of Brussels sprouts, I opted for the Half Smoke—reposado tequila, mezcal, agave, and bitters. When unpacking my meal at home, I was pleasantly surprised to find a handwritten note, instructing me to “sip, enjoy, repeat,” after pouring the Half Smoke over ice and squeezing the twist, which was included in its own small container. The chef had also thrown in an additional serving of Brussels because they had extra, and they truly abide by the adage that the dish is best served hot. The Brussels were delicately prepared, while the lamb entrée came with three different cuts of meat, accented by a rosemary jus. But it was the personal touches that made this a special takeout experience, like visiting an old friend.—Desiré Moses
I’d heard great things from many friends about Mochiko, the Hawaiian BBQ and deli located in The Yard at 5th Street Station, and was eager to try it. The ordering process was easy to navigate online directly from the Mochiko website. Pickup was quick and simple, at the exact time specified when ordering, with ample parking outside the restaurant.
I opted for the Mochiko Chicken over white rice with a side of ahi (tuna) poke. The signature chicken dish reminded me of what you might get at an Asian-style restaurant at a mall food court, but well-balanced flavors (chicken marinated in garlic, ginger, and soy then lightly breaded in rice flour and fried) and the fact that it was freshly prepared elevated the overall meal.
The highlight was the ahi poke. Small pieces of raw tuna marinated in sesame oil, soy sauce, and green onions evoked memories of a vacation in Hawaii. In the end, I was sorry that I had only ordered a small side portion. Next time I will order poke as my main dish and perhaps add another Hawaiian classic, the Spam musubi. While I won’t be sitting on a beach in Hawaii anytime soon, the classic flavors of Mochiko allow me to close my eyes and imagine that I am there.—Paul Ting
Passiflora, downtown’s newest dining spot, is set to be a C’ville favorite, thanks to its fresh flavors and hospitable service. I was delighted by its takeout options, and, aside from a lack of utensils in the to-go bag, I had a speedy and pleasant experience. The restaurant’s Baja-Mediterranean style is something we haven’t seen much of in Charlottesville, so deciding on just a few dishes from Passiflora’s menu is almost an exercise in futility. Nevertheless, I managed to assemble a delicious spread of fajitas, tacos, grilled pineapple, and fruity cider.
Everything delivered a refreshing brightness, along with an authentic mix of Latin spices. The piquant chimichurri particularly stood out, deftly bridging the gap between the sweet char of the grilled pineapple and the spice of the pickled cherry tomatoes.
Of course, the best way to enjoy great food is with great company, and my friend loved the chicken fajita, though it was slightly messy as a finger food. The pico de gallo, sour cream, and queso perfectly exemplified the Tex-Mex half of Passiflora’s diverse menu.
The portions were generous as well; one appetizer and the single Baja fish taco were a perfect light dinner for less than $20. And the beer-battered cod, topped with red cabbage, creamy queso asadero, rich aioli, and wrapped in a flour tortilla, was just dense enough to be satisfying without the heavy decadence that usually accompanies fried foods. Paired with El Chavo, a flavorsome mango-habanero cider, our dinner from Passiflora provided an impressive array of flavors that will definitely prompt a return.—Will Ham